EU law may force Apple to drop Lightning connector for MicroUSB

“Apple may be forced to drop the Lightning connector for charging the iPad and iPhone in Europe,” Karen Haslam reports for Macworld UK. “A European Parliament’s consumer protection committee has voted to standardize smartphone connectors in a move to reduce waste.”

“As a result it is possible that Apple will have to abandon the Lightning connector at the base of the iPad and iPhone,” Haslam reports. “Brussels is attempting to make every mobile phone use the same charging standard. The micro USB standard seems the most likely winner based on the fact that in 2009 the European standards agency chose it to be the universal port for smartphones, and hence most of Apple’s smartphone competition now use micro USB connectors.”

Haslam reports, “However, Apple sells a Lightning to micro USB connector in the European Union for this reason. Apple’s Lightning to Micro USB Adaptor costs £15… The ruling still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, however, and a new law may well take years to be implemented, by which time there may be a new way to charge devices such as induction.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’ll never happen and, even if it did, Apple could simply throw that Lightning to Micro USB Adaptor adapter into every box sold in Europe, thereby preserving their iOS devices’ Lightning connector advantages.

Related articles:
Apple could be forced to scrap Lightning connector under proposed EU law – September 27, 2013
Quit yer bitchin’ over that Lightning connector, Apple product users have always been on front line of ‘creative destruction’ – September 24, 2012
Apple now selling Lightning to microUSB adapter, but only in Europe – September 17, 2012


    1. EU law may force Apple to drop Lightning connector for MicroUSB…Blah, Blah, Blah….It only counts for Europe. So if they want their own special connector apple should just charge more for the phones there. iPhones are luxury items not birthrights.

      1. That would be a slap in the face of the EU since the whole point of this legislation is to cost consumers less.

        The EU might as well say down with innovation. Micro USB forever.

      1. Regulations can’t create waste. Humans create waste.

        Wake up. The hyper-consumerist (inflationary by design) economy is based on an accelerating limitless plan to convert all planetary resources into inedible, unusable landfill fodder. We have turned our planet into a pile of crap and we just refuse to slow down the process.

        That anyone — especially a sensible European — should ponder this and propose we moderate our drive to turn Earth into a massive pile of made-in-China garbage apparently is not well received by people here who worship brainless consumerism and the false god of an endlessly growing economy. Sad.

        Perhaps if more people read the article they would understand how this legislation wouldn’t hard ANY manufacturer, and indeed does make sense. Cooperative action toward noble goals almost always makes more sense than brainless competition toward base and greedy goals — and this is most especially true when dealing with big problems that no one company or group could ever possibly solve on their own.

        Apple, as you know, follows IEEE and other industrial standards all over the place, and is better for it. Do not mistake regulation — either by citizens’ representatives or self-imposed industrial cooperation — as being counterproductive in any way. Everyone benefits from wise regulation in the long run.

    2. What the Pro-EU Pundits don’t realize is that Apple has already beaten them to the punch: Apple has already gone on record with their “Cheap Clone Charger” replacement program, which basically is saying that using a non-Apple charger with their product is potentially quite dangerous.


      1. True. Apple does have a solid foundation to support it’s argument that only Apple charges should be used to charge it’s devices. May be a warning on Apple boxes saying “Not using an Apple charge can result in serious injury or death”. With the EU regulation Apple would not be liable for any charging related issues and I’m sure the manufacture of the charger would not be either. Sounds like a win win for manufactures and a losing proposition for the consumer.

    3. I could understand requiring that the Charger be universal, but why the cable? If you can plug a MicroUSB cable into an Apple charger and charge your Android phone with the same charger, what would be the problem? It seems like they are confusing standardizing the cable with standardizing the charger !

  1. I think that this is not only GREAT news but that it doesn’t go far enough.

    I, for one, believe all smart phone gestures should be standardized, all apps written to work across the platform board, and all phones built the same size and price to eliminate the confusion if going from one brand to another as I do every month or so.

    Thanks for looking after me, EU. Thank you!

        1. The EU mandates the type and consistency of petrol that can be sold no matter what the car, the shape of the petrol (gas) nozzle that fits in the car and the shape of the receiver into which the petrol (gas) nozzle is put.

          Perhaps every car manufacturer should be able to require a different type of petrol (gas) nozzle for their car so that car drivers could only refill their car with that manufacturer’s service stations rather than at universal service stations as at present.

          1. Wrong analogy. Petro nozzle is one-way device. Charging port also outputs audio, video, data, etc. No wonder half-brain EUers want to standardize charging port since they can only comprehend half of charging port functions with the half of brain, just like you, “de V…”

          2. Very poor analogy. The reason for standard nozzles is so you can drive from one country to another and still fuel up.

            The EU should start with requiring a standard electrical plug instead of letter each country have its own outlet style, amperage, etc.

  2. Lightning isn’t just a charging port though. Apple will never just get rid of it, and I can’t see them having both. I don’t want a micro usb connection that I will never use. I wouldn’t mind have an adaptor and a cable in the box, in addition to the straight cable and charger, then I’ve got the regular cable to connect to my mac, plus one for the charger to be plugged in elsewhere.

    1. Just add an extra MicroUSB port to the charger itself. No further need for adapters, the Lightning eco-system preserved, and the adapters is still useful after throwing away your phone. Everybody happy.

      1. I think the implication is that you should be able to use other chargers with your iPhone. Having a micro usb port on the apple charger wouldn’t help that. Ultimately Apple would need to allow for plugging any micro usb charger into the iPhone.

        I wouldn’t want to trust a non-Apple charger with my iPhone anyway. Even if it was made by a so called reputable company, if it’s not official, or at least approved you’re taking a risk. Apple are hardly going to support damage caused by another charger, and then you’re reliant on the company selling the dodgy goods to fix your fried phone. I’d rather buy an adaptor.

        1. Finally! Someone else gets this!!

          The EU wants a charging PORT standard. They are talking about legislating that every mobile device has to have a micro USB port to charge the device.

          NOT an adapter that converts a micro USB cable into a lightning connector.

          NOT a micro USB port on the Apple charger.

          They want a micro USB port on the actual mobile device so that no matter where you are, you can just grab someone else’s micro USB charger and charge your iPhone.

          If you read the article, the previous legislation was voluntary, and Apple providing an adapter was fine. But now they they want to mandate that the port is on the device. Apple is going to have to fight their case, but it doesn’t sound like Europe is too Apple friendly at this point.

          I found this n Friday when the story broke –

          Read some of the comments to that article – NOT Apple friendly at all!

          1. Yup, and this is the perfect way to stifle innovation for the next 15-20 years. Can you imagine the near impossibility of getting the micro USB “standard” changed in a few years when something better comes out and is universally adopted by the consumer electronics industry?

          2. I understood this had already been sorted when the EU demanded a common charger, using USB, that could be used to charge any device from any manufacturer, because most chargers were hard-wired.
            Seeing as how there are a number of different micro/mini USB ports, used by any number of different manufacturers for a wide range of different devices, like external batteries, cameras, phones, etc, a common port would certainly be beneficial. However, this particular proposed legislation totally ignores the fact that Lightning is conveying lots of data, as well as power, and it also seems to be a good opportunity for Apple to push for Lightning to be adopted as an alternative to USB; it’s open-source, created by IBM, along with Apple, it’s more robust, and more user friendly, not being bothered by how it’s inserted.

  3. TowerTone, EU is not only going way to far meddling in design but regulating things like this for what? If everything was the same then there would be no choice. The world would be so boring. Might as well go back to the way cell phones were made when they first came out. Brick sized walkie talkies. Let’s make all cars, houses, clothes, toys, bikes, trees, you name it the same. Let’s force you to have the same of everything with no choices and see how long you would like it. I’m sorry but there are better answers then forcing design changes and MDN is right and you are WRONG! If people are that STUPID that they can’t figure out what USB adapter they need to use then they should not buy or have the right to own that product. Maybe that’s what the EU should pass a law about. Who is smart enough to own a device and be able to use it. If not you should be banned from being able to buy that product. That would be a better law by far. Eliminating choice is NOT the answer.

  4. EU has it all wrong. Lightning is superior in the at which side is up doesn’t matter. They should be forcing everyone to license lightning from Apple and include that on their phone instead! 😀
    (Not that Apple would like that, but it is more logical. If they’re going to force something on the public make it the best solution. )

  5. Such a misunderstood law. The basis of the law is that every charger should be interoperable, which could actually be done on the other end of the cable, I.e., changing the USB side of the cable to a micro-USB.

    Whatever they do, will produce more waste in the short term as all current chargers and cables are not standardised, so would be binned. I still use my 1st gen iPod touch charger for charging my phone, kindle and other devices. I will continue to do so for as long as there is a USB to device connector cable.

    Next they’ll be standardising car engines to set dimensions, Light bulbs to small Edison screw and greeting cards to standard size so you can use standard envelopes!!

  6. Tempest in a teapot. You’ll notice that the plug on your external charges is already USB. Apple could simply add a second [micro] USB port or continue as now, to provide a standard micro USB adaptor and make the plug on the charger micro USB. The benefits of Apple’s proprietary plug only apply when the iDevice is plugged in to the USB port on the workstation/laptop.

  7. The EU should be asked how can they force MicroUSB when in practice between Google and Samsung, the biggest implementers, have had FOUR different and incompatible so called “standards” for MicroUSB _in THREE years_: MHL1, MHL2, SlimPort and now the microUSB 3.0 port that is a step backwards.

    They should also be asked what’s the most common reported fault in microUSB consumer electronics: People breaking the socket while trying to insert the plug upside down!

    I suspect what’s really going on is some Apple competitor saw Apple’s future plans for Lightning – for example the new gamepads – and is making some calls and writing some cheques to try and stop it.

  8. I find it difficult to brlieve there is much advantage to lightning over USB. Think about it. It ‘s USB in, how can it be any faster going out? Lightning is just another way for Apple to bend us over. I love Apple products, I’m anxiously tracking my 5S trip from china right now, but Apple really goes out of it’s way to make things proprietary and then overcharge for them.

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